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J Infect Dis. 2006 Dec 1;194(11):1580-8. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

Lactobacilli expressing variable domain of llama heavy-chain antibody fragments (lactobodies) confer protection against rotavirus-induced diarrhea.

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Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.



Rotavirus-induced diarrhea poses a worldwide medical problem in causing substantial morbidity and mortality among children in developing countries. We therefore developed a system for passive immunotherapy in which recombinant lactobacilli constitutively express neutralizing variable domain of llama heavy-chain (VHH) antibody fragments against rotavirus.


VHH were expressed in Lactobacillus paracasei, in both secreted and cell surface-anchored forms. Electron microscopy was used to investigate the binding efficacy of VHH-expressing lactobacilli. To investigate the in vivo function of VHH-expressing lactobacilli, a mouse pup model of rotavirus infection was used.


Efficient binding of the VHH antibody fragments to rotavirus was shown by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and scanning electron microscopy. VHH fragments expressed by lactobacilli conferred a significant reduction in infection in cell cultures. When administered orally, lactobacilli-producing surface-expressed VHH markedly shortened disease duration, severity, and viral load in a mouse model of rotavirus-induced diarrhea when administered both fresh and in a freeze-dried form.


Transformed lactobacilli may form the basis of a novel form of prophylactic treatment against rotavirus infections and other diarrheal diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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